verb (used with object)

to constrain by seizing and holding goods, etc., in pledge for rent, damages, etc., or in order to obtain satisfaction of a claim.
to levy a distress upon.

verb (used without object)

to levy a distress.

Nearby words

  1. distraction,
  2. distractive,
  3. distractively,
  4. distractor,
  5. distrail,
  6. distrainee,
  7. distraint,
  8. distrait,
  9. distraite,
  10. distraught

Origin of distrain

1250–1300; Middle English distreinen < Anglo-French, Old French destreindre < Latin distringere to stretch out, equivalent to di- di-2 + stringere to draw tight; see strain1

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for distrainee



law a person whose property has been seized by way of distraint



law to seize (personal property) by way of distress
Derived Formsdistrainable, adjectivedistrainment, noundistrainor or distrainer, noun

Word Origin for distrain

C13: from Old French destreindre, from Latin distringere to impede, from dis- 1 + stringere to draw tight

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012